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Old 07-27-2023, 11:39 PM   #21
Donny Brook
 
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Default Re: Help a noobie understand critical hits

I feel you.

Calibrating lethality of encounters in an unfamiliar game system can be challenging.

There are some suggestions in the Basic Set about optional rules that can make combat more survivable. I'd suggest implementing some or all of them as you get into the GURPS system. And there are some good tips in the posts above.

Fortunately, your character race choices offer a lot of scope for resurrection, revivification, and repair.
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Old 07-28-2023, 12:17 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Colonel__Klink View Post
And no, I'm not interested in playing a game where one dice roll means the story is over and we all go home.
Why is it "over"? One PC hits torpor, unless they're stupidly old (in which case why don't they have a few points of Fortitude?) they'll pull out of torpor in a few days tops. The other PCs are still kicking right? or did Farmer John get lucky and one shot everyone? In which case, if you're that worried, don't have Farmer John carry a 30-06, give him a shotgun which has a lower damage.

And my point still stands, this could have just as easily happened in VtM. GURPS isn't making firearms anymore deadly of vamps any more fragile. The point of VtM isn't combat anyway, it's the drama of the night, combat is supposed to be what happens when everything else fails. Unless you're playing a Sabbat campaign, a "vamps are just tragic superheroes lol" game.

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...but daily when the confrontation with farmer john could happen? No.
Where is this "daily confrontation with the farmer" coming from? Is he a random result on your wandering damage chart? If the PCs are sneaking onto a farm and "Farmer John" is a risk, why aren't they using disciplines to get a leg up so to speak. Why are they just being all... "non-subtle"?

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Btw, the example was a 14HT character. that's 40 points!
At this point I need to ask which edition are you planing to play because I suspect everyone else thinks it's 4e, while I suspect you're talking 3e. Not too many changes, but there are a few.

However you keep mentioning pi... so I think you're mixing the editions. In 4e HP are determined by ST, FP by HT.

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This is something that I'm new to. Everywhere I read the average character has 9-13 HP. Is it normal for players to dump into HP and have more like 30?
No, 10-15ish is normal. Dropping below 10 is abnormal, especially for a VtM game, but it could happen. I'd recommend allowing all PCs to buy extra HP, up to say +3 over normal, unless they're especially hardy. If you're really worried about PCs in combat. Also, don't shoot them with firearms doing more than 5d damage.

Or contemplate giving them Unliving. It doesn't really fit the BtM genre where a cop with a glock can drop the average vamp, but, if fights with high powered rifles are meant to be your norm and you want the PCs easily triumphing, it's a simple fix.

This isn't D&D. VtM also wasn't ever D&D. Both GURPS and original VtM get pretty deadly if the PCs just stand around letting themselves get shot, stabbed, etc.

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Originally Posted by Colonel__Klink View Post
One option is fortitude which for the cost of TEN FATIGUE at MAXIMIUM LEVEL will grant a paltry ten damage resistance. It will cost 2 fatigue to have 1 damage resistance which is well.. useless.
Paltry? Useless? Against a weapon that will kill a human with one average hit, okay... but again, why is the vamp not being sneaky? Why are they running around being an obvious deadly danger and inviting Farmer John to shot them?

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So farmer John shoots him with a 7.62 bolt action rifle from the equipment section from the basic set. This does 7d PI damage. On my first roll it was 26 damage. On my second roll it was 24 damage. On my third simulated roll it was again 26 damage. So lets say it's 26 damage. Lets say the character has 13 hp.
Oh, I see you're whiteboarding it. Well, everything looks horrible on a whiteboard.

Why is the vamp standing around letting themselves get shot up? Do they not have another discipline they could use? Running away? Dodging at the very least?

If they got snipered, well, that's on the GM for sniping them.


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If he uses all of his blood points...
Which they should not do and is completely unnecessary. What they should do, when hit with the first shot, is fall down and pretend they are a dead mortal. Heal a little, but not such they risk a frenzy, then wait for the farmer to get into grabbing range and be a frikking vampire.

Or maybe not roll solo when they're not capable of being subtle, sneaky, or tough enough?

Literally same thing can happen in almost every edition of VtM, single shot into torpor land with a powerful firearm. I'm not sure what editions you've been playing to not see that a happen.

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This all is why I'm sitting there re-writing all the weapons with new damage models. As bad as farmer john's remington is it doesn't even compare to a ar-15 (5d 3 shots per turn) or a m16 (5d 12-15 shots per turn.)
I can see an AR... but why are your civies carrying M16s?

My recommendation, tell your Players "combat can be deadly, try real hard to not get shot or hit by strong foes carrying axes". That means taking cover, not standing around in the open, be sneaky, ambush your foes, etc. If you have Obfuscate, use it. Spy on foes from afar with Auspex, no need to be right on top of them. Etc.

Also... the Discipline write ups in GURPS VtM are... close, but not quite exact, and they could have been a lot better. It's something to think about if you're aiming for a good "VtM feel".
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Old 07-28-2023, 12:19 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Donny Brook View Post
Fortunately, your character race choices offer a lot of scope for resurrection, revivification, and repair.
The ultimate actually. As long as they aren't hit by their weakness, they won't drop below -HP, they just go into 'torpor' (deep unconsciousness basically) until they heal back slowly.
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Old 07-28-2023, 12:19 AM   #24
Fred Brackin
 
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Don't the vampires have Injury Tolerance (Unliving), since VtM vampires have partial resistance to bullets due to not really having vital organs? (Possibly, I haven't got the GURPS VtM book, but I've got the actual VtM book).

.
The Gurps:VtM book is from the early 90s and predates lots of stuff. In fact it introduced an early version of IT:Unliving only it wasn't that well done rules-wise. Gurps 3e spent the next 10 years patching things that crept into the system in the Gurps: World of Darkness books. Now we're 20 years after that and you can take inspiration from Gurps:VtM but I wouldn't try and use _anything_ from it rules-wise. Use current 4e rules.

For example against a vampire who has Injury Tolerance: Unliving that 7D6 P rifle round only does 1/3 damage. So an average of 24 pts becomes only 8 and the vamp is only wounded. Even less if he was wearing that concealable vest.

If he had Luck he could have re-rolled that blown dodge roll and be unwounded. The last time I did pregens _all_ the PCs had Luck.
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Old 07-28-2023, 02:27 AM   #25
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Default Re: Help a noobie understand critical hits

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Originally Posted by Colonel__Klink View Post
The game models swords very well... guns not so much!
It models guns really well. They're quite lethal. That's why armies use guns now and not swords! That said, a Weapon Master with a Very Fine blade, high skill, and high ST and/or Striking ST is very lethal. It's like having a very powerful gun.

If you think a given gun is too powerful, use a less powerful one.
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Old 07-28-2023, 02:27 AM   #26
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We start playing. One hour in is the first combat encounter. "bang." Their character is dead. It's over.

Well guys... it was a nice campaign. Anyone want to play something else?
Then don't shoot them. Or do less damage. You're the GM, you make the story. The dice are a guide.
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Old 07-28-2023, 02:30 AM   #27
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Default Re: Help a noobie understand critical hits

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Originally Posted by mburr0003 View Post
My recommendation, tell your Players "combat can be deadly, try real hard to not get shot or hit by strong foes carrying axes". That means taking cover, not standing around in the open, be sneaky, ambush your foes, etc.
This is the key thing. GURPS combat is very different from D&D combat. Openly confronting opponents and expecting to soak up all the damage with your hit points will get you killed. Visibly advancing to melee range against modern firearms means you get shot up. Guns aren't quite as deadly as in reality, but the difference is slight.

To survive GURPS combat, you concentrate on not getting hit. Against ranged weapons, that means not getting spotted. In melee, that means not getting hit, by making your active defence rolls. Armour is the backup to not getting hit, not the primary form of defence.

This means stealth and tactics are what the players should be thinking about, not looking heroic.
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Old 07-28-2023, 07:09 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Colonel__Klink View Post
We start playing. One hour in is the first combat encounter. "bang." Their character is dead. It's over.
If you have characters who are highly vulnerable to powerful firearms, and you throw them up against powerful firearms, there's a pretty good chance you're going to wind up with a character dead on account of being shot. To avoid this type of situation, GURPS gives you a few options. One is to just not throw them up against powerful firearms, but of course that limits the type of story you can tell, so that might not be a good option. Another is to use cinematic options, like Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy (which I think showed up in Martial Arts - it basically says the first salvo of shots against the PC's will always miss, thus giving them time to do something between "Oh carp they have guns" and taking a round to the dome), Flesh Wounds (which lets you trade in an unspent character point to downgrade any wound to a 1 HP Injury), or Melee Etiquette (which means if the PC's aren't using ranged weapons, their foes won't take potshots at them - Farmer John won't shoot your vampires, he'll just brandish his rifle menacingly - while closing to melee, giving them a chance to disarm him - and if things do come to blows, he'll just use it like a club). Yet another is to build the characters as being more resistant to firearms - undead traditionally have Injury Tolerance: Unliving, which as has been noted downgrades firearm wounding markedly; giving them some degree of Unkillable will also help quite a bit. Luck is also extremely useful for negating those unlucky dice rolls, letting the character Dodge the shot or preventing the foe from rolling a crit. Simply having a high HT - and/or the Hard to Kill Trait - can also make a character quite unlikely to die from most wounds (with effective HT 14, you'll typically need around 10 death checks before you'll actually fail one - and even then that failure will probably only be by 1 or 2, which results in Mortal Wounds rather than outright death). And there are more options - the Pyramid article "Survivable Guns" suggests halving firearm damage but giving a (2) armor divisor, resulting in weapons that are much less deadly but still have the same amount of penetration, for example.

The important thing to keep in mind is that GURPS default combat rules can be quite deadly, so you need to account for that when designing characters and encounters.
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Old 07-28-2023, 08:15 AM   #29
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Then don't shoot them. Or do less damage. You're the GM, you make the story. The dice are a guide.
Everyone seems offended I would dare to pare down the weapon damage exactly as you recommended ;P.

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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
The Gurps:VtM book is from the early 90s and predates lots of stuff. In fact it introduced an early version of IT:Unliving only it wasn't that well done rules-wise. Gurps 3e spent the next 10 years patching things that crept into the system in the Gurps: World of Darkness books. Now we're 20 years after that and you can take inspiration from Gurps:VtM but I wouldn't try and use _anything_ from it rules-wise. Use current 4e rules.

For example against a vampire who has Injury Tolerance: Unliving that 7D6 P rifle round only does 1/3 damage. So an average of 24 pts becomes only 8 and the vamp is only wounded. Even less if he was wearing that concealable vest.

If he had Luck he could have re-rolled that blown dodge roll and be unwounded. The last time I did pregens _all_ the PCs had Luck.
Lol well the core rules I am going with are 4th edition. I got the VTM book off ebay to have a jumping off point for the vampires in the campaign as I like they fit the theme of powerful, "magical" beings of the night. This is not to be VTM but I used it as an example here of the reasoning behind why I want to re-write all the damage models in the game for my campaign.

Specifically it's cyberpunk with Vampires as a contrast. I thought it would be a fun balancing act. Cybernetics are their own path to great power allowing human characters, player or otherwise to achieve great things but vampires have their own path to power. Lore wise in my setting they heal too completely to cyberize. Thrown in the mix are mages for more fun. To balance you have to pick as a human. Cybernetics or magery, they are incompatible with each other (right now I'm playing with a disadvantage that reduces ones FP ceiling for casting spells based upon the points in cybernetic advantages he has in order to accomplish this.) It was when I was using the VTM book as a guide to write the vampire chapter in my source book, modifying things as needed that I realized how the sheer level of damage in gurps combat renders even the fantasy elements moot, when I was considering increasing the fortitude ability's damage resistance by a factor of 5 or 10 I realized that I instead needed to look at fixing the root of the problem. The damage scale of the weapons themselves.

Beeeeeing cyberpunk the player characters aren't going to be sitting around discussing the finer points of pottery or roleplaying politics of the night (some folks might like such campaigns but to me a campaign where nothing actually happens, there's no conflict is just boring.) They are going to be in a gritty, dangerous, violent setting where the people at the top of society could not have gotten there if they were not familiar with a gun.

I got this fun idea of having a NPC that is intended for the player characters to fight and kill and then they see him next week. If they kill him he comes back again! Every time! Of course its a invitation to the players to begin to learn the arcane secrets of the setting, the npc is a ghoul in lovecraftian sense. He gets shot, dies, wakes up in the dream lands. Usually that means he wouldn't find his way back to even the same dimension but the campaign takes place at a particular city that has become a beacon across the planes that ghouls (and other beings) can see across infinity. It's the first place ghouls have always been able to return to. This builds to our heroes fighting beings of incomprehensible power as the big bosses of the game. The ghouls are just a hint at the existence of a greater darkness. TBH, the vampires in the setting are too a symbiosis of humans and "eldritch" beings themselves in the setting rather than VTM's legacy of Cain story.

Last edited by Colonel__Klink; 07-28-2023 at 08:23 AM.
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Old 07-28-2023, 08:17 AM   #30
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Default Re: Help a noobie understand critical hits

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
This is the key thing. GURPS combat is very different from D&D combat. Openly confronting opponents and expecting to soak up all the damage with your hit points will get you killed. Visibly advancing to melee range against modern firearms means you get shot up. Guns aren't quite as deadly as in reality, but the difference is slight.
Part of this is that hit points don't mean the same thing in GURPS and in D&D. In D&D, hit points reflect how large and tough you are, which is why ogres and giants and such have lots of them. But they also reflect how skillfully you move to avoid being hit or at least to minimize damage, which is part of why they increase as you gain levels; and they reflect your luck. Neither of those is handled by increasing hit points in GURPS. You can buy up your DX, which raises your Basic Speed and your Dodge; or buy up your Basic Speed, which raises your Dodge; or buy Enhanced Dodge; or buy Combat Reflexes, which gives +1 to all your defenses. If your Dodge goes, say, from 9 to 10, you have decreased your foe's chance of hitting you by one-fifth, which is like raising your hit points from 10 to 12.5. Or you can buy Luck directly.

If either dodging or Luck works, you avoid being hit. Entirely. So instead of having a certain increase in how much damage you can stand, you have a probable avoidance of all damage. In the long run, these reduce your average damage per combat similarly—but with the GURPS way, there's always that element of risk.

On the other hand, you can get pretty impressive results. Back when I wrote GURPS Supers (for 4/e), a friend of mine invited me into a campaign using it. I created a speedster, La Gata Encantada. She had DX 19, and Basic Speed 12, which gave her Dodge-15, and Enhanced Time Sense made this Dodge-16; and if she made an Acrobatics roll (using her Move!-19), that increased to Dodge-17. So she failed to dodge only once in 54 attacks. I did give her some DR—motorcycle helmet, leathers, and boots—as a little insurance; but I never actually saw her hit. (Though a critical success on an attack could have done a number on her!)
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